Disappearing Butches: Butches and Top Surgery

Picture 297So, it looks like by having top surgery – breast modification to make my chest more male and flatter – that I have broken some old school rule in some minds. Sees that some people enjoy a Butch who has dysphoria (yeah, try living with it daily) and who hide their breasts under layers of clothing, no matter how uncomfortable that is for them. At least they still have all of their designated “woman parts” i.e. tits and a vagina. Yes, that is the older school Butch way of existing, and some like it that those Butches didn’t change that. I wonder…if those Butches could have or could now change – have top surgery – would they? Or wouldn’t they? I have to believe, being Butch myself and knowing how it feels to have the outrageous angst with my own body image, that any Butch who could change it for themselves would do exactly that. Now I am sure there are some that can’t for a wide variety of reasons, from financial and insurance, to health considerations, to fear of pain or of what their families and friends will think of them. Evidently some think that by my having had chest surgery that I am less Butch and more Trans now. I beg to differ.
All my life I was uncomfortable with my chest/breasts. I hated them from the day they started to grow. I hated how my clothing fit, how I couldn’t wear a well fitting shirt because of my proportions and I hated that it was the one thing that men would find feminine about me. Believe me I was anything BUT feminine, no matter what body parts said.
Just because I was able to modify my body and have a nice flat male chest doesn’t mean that I am not still Butch. I am still very Butch. Butch is an attitude, not a body structure. I was tired of binding and wearing ill fitting clothing, like I said. Binding isn’t healthy for the other structures of the body like the ribs and lungs! It made it hard to breathe, and hard to move sometimes. Binding was a temporary fix for a long term problem. Binding was like putting a bandaid on a broken leg. And when I was binding I was also hyper aware of it for all of the discomfort it was causing me. I would wish and wish that I had a flat chest and there would be no more need to bind.
It’s only been a couple of weeks since I had the surgery to give me a chest that I am now comfortable with. Even though there’s still some swelling, I am really happy with the results, estatic even. I run my hands over my chest, tenderly across the still bruised areas, and I marvel at how modern medicine and a very artistic surgeon have changed my body into something far more comfortable and pleasing to me – scars and all. I feel my nipples now and like how they are a bit smaller and will look great pierced once things are healed up completely. I look in the mirror and I like my reflection much more than I ever did before I made this change. And I am still very very Butch.
Sure, Butch has a “style” attached to it, but it’s a widely varying style too. There are dapper Butches, there are skater Butches, there are soft Butches and sporty Butches. Of course there are the quirky geek Butches and lumberjack Butches. Personally, I have never found a “style” that I fit into completely. I don’t pay much attention to the fashion magazines and websites now out there for Butch styles. I do my own “style” of Stone Butch and I own a couple of decent suits. The one thing I do notice in all Butch fashion is that everyone is flattening their chests. Everyone is either binding, has small boobs to begin with or is wearing 3 sports bras and a oversized frumpy shirt. And beleive me none of them are very comfortable…but they do it because they don’t care for their breasts and try to minimalize them as much as possible. And because they are encouraged to do this!
Most of our femme counterparts don’t go through this body dysphoria that we do. Thank God, because I do love breasts on women who wear them well – like my girlfriend. I’ve never had a woman I have been with want me to have boobs. They would like it when I bound and flattened my chest and looked decent in my clothes. So why would any of them care if I took it to the next level and had this surgery? I’ve gotten more support from my femme friends, and also a lot of support and admiration for being able to do this from my Butch buddies, while I’ve been recovering. I don’t hear any femmes complaining that they are going to miss my boobs….omg, that would just be wrong on so many levels! (the mere thought of that is wrong). I didn’t have one Butch buddy try to talk me out of top surgery, for any reason whatsoever. I had quite a number of them say that they wished they could have it done; they wished they had insurance or the money to do it, and that they would do the same thing in a minute if they could.
Then I see blogs that are shaming Butches for seeking out top surgery. Saying that once we do the surgery we are no longer Butch, but are now Trans. I am not Trans. I do not wish to be a man nor am I a man in any way. I am fine with my other parts, although I don’t wish to have them messed with either. I consider myself a Butch woman. Although, I also consider Butch to BE my identity, so I identify less with the woman parts and more with the androgenous side of me. I am fast developing an aversion to pronouns. I don’t care about being called sir, or about being mistaken for a guy…but I am fine with female pronouns for the most part too. Our society forgot to install a pronoun for us that fall between the binary. And I am not enthused about the hy / hys pronoun sets as they seem to refer to those who are Trans identified, maybe I am wrong. They just don’t feel right to me.
It makes me sad that some now wish to strip me of my Butch identity all over a lousy set of boobs. Doesn’t make sense to me. There is so much more to Butch than body parts. Next thing will be feminine looking Butches…ewwww….they’ll want us to wear tutus and lingerie. Nope. Not this Butch. I’m going to continue to do Butch MY way…I think I’ll call it Butch 2.0

22 thoughts on “Disappearing Butches: Butches and Top Surgery

  1. Sounds to me like you have it all clear in your mind and with those that matter.
    Enjoy the new you. Happy for you and your girlfriend.


  2. Nice piece. Butch is also an energy. Even if we truly don’t ever fit into the binary, its nice to accept the balance of both energies. You have just done it in a way more comfortable for you.


  3. Who knew that MAINE was flat?
    Now to the business of who is butch and who is trans. Only we get to decide what labels we apply to ourselves. There is no litmus test for butch or for trans, no too trans to be butch, or too butch to be trans.
    Only racists do purity tests. There were places in the south where if you had “one drop of Negro blood” you couldn’t register as white (you were “colored”) and in Nazi Germany if you had two Jewish grandparents (1/4) you were designated as Jewish. Having top surgery doesn’t make you trans, it gives you a flat chest. Changing your name (or adopting a boyish nickname) doesn’t make you trans. It is how we identify that matters.

    Lastly, let us question the gatekeepers of butchness and transness, those who want to keep out people who they think don’t belong to their sacred category, those who are threatened by the big tent. Why are we a threat to them? My theory is that they are insecure in their own identity and they judge and police ours to avoid dealing with their own issues. Emotionally, they are still in the junior high school lunchroom.


    1. Omg. You nailed that so perfectly. I’m trans and born intersexed, and I don’t see why any of us have to fit into society’s pigeonholes that they seem to just have to create for us. There are no rules or boxes other than the ones we create for ourselves.


      1. Toni u hav made me curious – in a good way πŸ™‚ i love it wen ppl pursue their happiness regardless of othr ppls inexplicable need to pigeon hole everyone they meet regardless if its any of their business!


    2. Thanks Jamie, I knew you would get it if not one else did! I am fast becoming very admirable of you and your writing. You put it out there the same way I do – honestly and truthfully. Rock on my friend, Rock on.


      1. Thanks, it means a lot when someone reads and gets it. Sometimes I feel like a fossil, but when I started thinking about all this stuff there were very few middle aged butches writing about it unless they were either anti-trans (Michiganites) or in the process of transitioning – which is fine but not exactly where I was/am.
        So I figured I would write about it and see where it went.


  4. What you wrote are the words I have not said aloud. Thank you Brave one….And congrats for doing what is right for you. Before I die .hope I find that moment to do the same…and to feel…free and me………………..


  5. Were I not married I think I would like to have top surgery but my wife repeatedly tells me how often she dreams of boobs. I find it quite saddening and maddening that I’m that co-dependent that I keep them for her.


  6. Hi,
    I completely agree with you.
    Good for you for finally getting the chest you want! I think anything that can make us a little more comfortable in our own skin is a blessing, and thinking of people deciding to put you in a box you don’t identify with is making me angry and sad.
    I’d really like to know where I can find those blogs so I can give them a piece of my mind.
    It’s so interesting how it’s perfectly okay to get a nose job or breast augmentation, but this- is outrageous, right?

    Thanks for your words,
    and thank you for writing things the way you see them- maybe future butches won’t have to invent the wheel all over again, but learn something from your experience.
    (And maybe one day, mine too.)



  7. I’m so with you on this. I’m post top surgery (11 months and I LOVE my chest) and call myself a transmasculine butch. I know I’m not alone out there, thanks for sharing.


  8. Butch is how you feel, how you behave, your energies and who you are… Does that all change simply because you don’t have any boobs? I think not…
    here’s to feeling more comfortable with yourself and educating uninformed simplistic labelling minds…


  9. I have been transitioning from female to male for 5 years. Within that time, I have seen an outrageous amount of perspectives between body and self. The most interesting perspective for me, obviously, is My Own. -each and every one of us sees ourselves differently from which other people see us. (Common knowledge, I know.) but if that’s common knowledge, how do people not know to “STFU” about what Somebody Else is doing to Their Own Body!!! ??? It’s blasphemous!! Not “everybody,” but the majority of everybody is constantly thinking and talking about someone else. Why?? Possibly because when we talk about ourselves, we get called “selfish, egotistical, conceited, obsessed. Etc.”

    So, why is it so hard for us as a society, to talk about the good in people?

    …relevant or not, that’s how I feel about it. Haha

    I’m happy for you doing what makes you feel like the best you possible. πŸ™‚


  10. Great blog Ang!!! I feel it’s perfectly fine to do whatever you want with your body. I mean women augment their breasts and no one bats an eye. Why should reducing or removing them be any different? I love your perspective.


  11. Heartfelt words very well written and easy to follow and understand. So much of what you’ve written re body dysphoria and top surgery resonates with me for similar and different reasons. Sometimes your writing helps me find the words to better express my own thoughts. I don’t want to use your blog space to share about my “stuff” but I do want to appreciate you for your openness and honesty and for honoring your inner urges to communicate and educate. Good for you, Keep on keeping on.
    You did something very positive for yourself and it has brought you obvious joy, satisfaction and peace. A radiantly happy Butch is a happier butchier Butch, yes? πŸ™‚ Bless you! Peace. xo


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